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Time Goes to College

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Last week, Time magazine had a feature story on the common-core learning standards. This week, it has a "Special College Report" cover titled "Class of 2025: How They'll Learn and What They'll Pay."

In the cover piece, author (and former Newsweek editor) Jon Meacham says that "higher education has never been more expensive—or seemingly less demanding."


"Polls suggest that most students are happy with their college experiences (if not their debt loads), elite institutions are thriving, U.S. research universities are the envy of the world, and a college degree remains the nation's central cultural and economic credential," Meacham writes. "Yet it's also undeniable that hand-wringing about higher education is so common that it almost forms an academic discipline unto itself or should at least count as a varsity sport."

The issue is an outgrowth of the recent Time Summit on Higher Education, a high-wattage talkfest that featured the likes of Arne Duncan, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell.

Meacham reports that there is renewed interest in a "core curriculum" in higher education just as the Common Core State Standards are showing up in K-12 schools. Meanwhile, work continues on the College Learning Assessment, a sort of post-college SAT that is partly motivated by the fact that employers don't trust college grade-point averages.

In a separate essay, Massachusetts Institute of Technology President L. Rafael Reif discusses MOOCs (massive open online courses) and other technologies.

"I am convinced that digital learning is the most important innovation in education since the printing press," Reif writes.

While MOOCs are free, Time magazine will cost you, either for an online subscription or five bucks at your newsstand.


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